National Parks to Visit in Oregon

National Parks to Visit in Oregon

While there is only one national park in Oregon, Crater Lake National Park, there are a variety of other national historic sites and monuments that are worth visiting. As you travel the state in your Bowlus, make sure that you take the time to get out and experience all that the state has to offer. 

You’ll always have a comfortable bed and hot shower ready for you when you get back to camp. Spend your days outdoors in nature and your nights sleeping restfully in your own high quality bed.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is an absolute wonder of the natural world. It is the fifth oldest national park in the country (established in 1902). However, the history of the park goes back much further to its formation around 7,700 years ago as the result of a violent eruption. 

The lake itself is the focal point of the park and the reason so many people travel there. Crater Lake is also the deepest lake in the United States, as well as being one of the clearest and bluest. 

If you want to learn more about the lake and the history of the area, consider taking one of the guided boat or trolley tours. This allows you to really take in the area while you learn more about it, and is a great place to start before heading out on your own. 

When you’re ready to explore, there are nearly 90 miles of trails divided into 23 different hiking routes. The most popular in the park is the Garfield Peak Trail, which is just over three miles out and back. It’s moderate in difficulty, and offers stunning views of the lake as well as Mount McLoughlin, Union Peak, and some of the smaller summits. Make sure that you bring a camera to capture all of the scenery. 

If you’re ready to give your feet a break, make sure to take the Scenic Rim Drive. This historic, 33-mile drive features the best that the park has to offer—panoramic vistas, lake views, meadows, and forests. On the way, there are 30 different overlooks and access to various picnic areas, hiking trails, and waterfalls. It’s a fun way to see the sights without having to hike them.

There are two places to camp while visiting Crater Lake National Park, but only one of them allows RVs. Mazama Campground is only open during the summer months, and has just over 200 sites available. 75% of their sites are reservable in advance, which is strongly recommended. The campground is set in the middle of an old growth forest, allowing you to camp in the middle of all the beauty that the park has to offer. 

Some of the sites have electrical hookups but, when you camp in a Bowlus, that isn’t something that you need to be concerned about. That’s the glory of our luxury travel trailer it gives you the freedom and the flexibility to go where you want without having to be tied down to locations with electrical hookups. 

One important thing to note when camping at Crater Lake National Park is to make sure you have all of your food locked up, as the park is home to many different species of wildlife. 

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

Although not technically a national park, Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is another must-see when visiting the state. Also called the “Marble Halls of Oregon,” and located deep inside the Siskiyou Mountains, the caves are an awe-inspiring reminder of Mother Nature’s underground beauty.

There are multiple different cave tours that you can take when visiting. For people who are traveling with children, there is one catered specifically to kids and family. You can also tour the cave by candlelight, or take an off-trail guided tour if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous.

If you’d rather stay on the surface, Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve has six hiking trails as well. From short hiking trails that take less than an hour to longer, all-day hikes, every person visiting will be able to find a great outdoor hiking experience. Our recommendation is Big Tree Trail, which takes about 2.5 hours to complete and will lead you past the widest Douglas fir tree in the state.

While there are no camping sites inside the preserve that can accommodate RVs, there are a few just outside the park. Grayback Campground is one of the closest, just eight miles from the entrance to the cave, and is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’d rather park at a luxury RV resort, there are options for that too. Lake Selmac Resort & Smoke on the Water Campground is full of features, with boat rentals, mini golf, and a general store. 

No matter where you choose to camp, your Bowlus is your mobile luxury hotel room.. You won’t be sleeping on the hard ground or depending on your ability to start a fire because you’ll be coming back to a comfortable, memory foam mattress and a kitchen that makes it possible to enjoy a warm, home cooked meal in the middle of a preserve.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

If you like your outdoor adventures with a side of history, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is the place for you. The park is full of history, allowing you to step back in time and see how the area was hundreds of years ago. The national historical park is actually 12 different historic sites that are located in the area, all along the Pacific Coast. 

One of the most interesting places in the park is Fort Clatsop, which was a winter encampment used in the early 1800s. Although the original buildings have been lost to time, full replicas have been built in their place so you can experience a fort from the era. There are plenty of ranger-led programs, as well, so that you can learn the history from experts who know it best. There are also phone-based self-guided tours if you would rather enjoy the history on your own.

To see how the original inhabitants of the land may have lived, you should also visit the Clatsop Indian Village. It features a replica of a Native American longhouse and honors the important place the local indigenous people called home long before it was colonized. 

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park has 14 miles of hiking trails to explore during your visit. Each of the trails follows a route similar to the ones the original Corps of Discovery took during their time at Fort Clatsop. Most can be hiked in under an hour or two, but there are a few longer routes like the Kwis Kwis Trail. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife; they often make an appearance but should be left alone. 

While there is no camping allowed inside the park itself, Fort Stevens State Park is a good option nearby. Most of the sites have full hookups for luxury travel trailers even though you won’t necessarily need them. Your travel trailer will be the envy of all the other campers when they realize that you have heated floors, lithium batteries and endless hot water. There really isn’t a better way to travel than doing it in a Bowlus. 

In Summary…

Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park is definitely worth the trip. In addition, various other historic sites like Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park are great visits and offer opportunities to camp nearby. 

When you travel the state in your Bowlus, you’ll be able to enjoy the en-suite bathroom of your dreams and a comfortable bed with eco-linens while seeing all of the beauty and history of the area.

 

Sources:

https://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm

https://www.nps.gov/orca/index.htm

https://www.nps.gov/lewi/index.htm

Bowlus®